What the Corona Crisis will Teach Us, Eventually! – The Gig Imperative

What the Corona Crisis will Teach Us, Eventually! – The Gig Imperative


All global crises, be it the economic ones such as the Great Depression of 1930, the Financial Crisis of 2008 or the health ones such as the Spanish Flu of 1918 or the more recent SARS, Nipah, Zika viruses have brought out the frailties of globally integrated systems.  While, the cohesiveness of global systems has led to tremendous operational and cost benefits, it has also ensured that one negative impetus, however insignificant, leads to a crippling Domino effect, one that has the potential to shake the very foundations of the system.

As one of the most paralyzing health crisis engulfs our planet and country after country grapples with the grim reality, the magnitude of havoc that Covid 19 manages to wreak on the globally integrated systems will only be known as and when the dust settles. The experts are scrambling to ascertain the overall impact of Corona Virus and there are simulations ranging from an optimistic minor contraction of the global GDP to a pessimistic full-scale contraction similar to the one witnessed during the financial meltdown of 2008-09.

Our new enemy, all of less than 0.2 microns in size, ironically crowns over us in the interim (etymologically Corona is Latin for Crown). No doubt the humans shall prevail eventually, and the world will emerge stronger from the crisis, as it has in the past. To do that it’ll have to learn its lessons quickly and ensure the learnings are enduring.

Changing Nature of Work in Data Science – The Gig Imperative

The global order that emerges, however sketchy it may appear as of now, will have to incorporate strategies for Workforce Resilience. Scores of large and small enterprises alike have been compelled to rethink their talent strategies, due in large parts to the voluntary or mandatory lockdowns. As some customers fret over deliveries and others scale down their projections the demand side has taken a major beating and technology teams across industries are facing the following dichotomy:

  1. There is excess staff on the bench without gainful work.
  2. There is a lack of adequately skilled staff to deliver as the teams have been rendered out of action due to the lockdowns.

The Laggards and the Out-Runners

As organizations react to this uncertainty, the tactics mandated by spiraling operational costs would range from pay cuts to large scale layoffs in order to preserve cash. Paradoxically, the skills that organizations-built overtime will unravel. All at significant long-term costs!

Laggards – Once we do get to the end of the tunnel the Laggard organizations that don’t learn fast enough would be led to another reverse scramble to rebuild teams. These organizations would once again build-up costs and wait for the next crisis to react to!

Out-Runners – Contrastingly, the ones that’ll out-run and out-smart are the ones that’ll invest in a new people strategy, one that effectively leverages the potential of the Gig Economy. Specialist task teams for every assignment, staffed with skills handpicked to address a particular business problem, assembled on demand and near real-time.

Benefits of a Gig Staffing Strategy

  1. Such a strategy would ensure that the best Data Science talent is put on the job for every assignment, leading to successful quality deliveries.
  2. The AI talent pool could be scaled up or down, aligned with the business priorities
  3. It’ll level the playing field for smaller companies that often get out-paid by larger competitors in the fight for AI talent.
  4. In times of crisis, such as the one that the world faces currently,
    1. Organizations are ensured there is a steady pipeline of talent available to work remotely, better insulated by lockdowns
    2. Organizations are not saddled with excess layers of flab and costs that need to be shed at a drastic rate in order to steady the ship.

How does one leverage the Gig-Strategy in Data Science

A good starting point is to get a discussion started with a Gig Platform. The engagement may involve an interlock with the Platform to align for short, medium and long term staffing priorities. The Platform may offer a one-stop shop for all Data Science talent requirements and help scale up and down on demand.

Out-Runners will increasingly lean on a hybrid talent strategy pivoted around the flexibility that a Gig Platform offers. That, expectantly, may just be the missing piece in the talent jigsaw that organizations find themselves grappling with in times of crises!

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